In a landmark move passed yesterday, Parliament approved a new law that makes it compulsory for public buses operating in cities to be accessible for the disabled.
Under the bill, mass transit buses will not be permitted to operate unless they have accessibility options for disabled citizens. The law also obligates public bus producers to end the production of buses without accessibility. Vehicles produced before the implementation of the law are required to be modified for accessibility under the new bill. Those violating the law will face administrative fines.
The government has already adapted a series of regulations to facilitate the lives of the disabled. New zoning regulations implemented in June ensure that zoning plans for cities and towns must include proper accessibility for disabled citizens.
Along with buses, the government plans to make all public transportation vehicles and ferries properly modified for the disabled by 2018.
The disabled - who make up 6.9 percent of the population - face challenges in some cities where sidewalks and mass transit have not been modified for accessibility.
In Istanbul, the country's most populated city, with over 14 million people, the municipality has already modified 5,620 buses for accessibility. Apart from the installation of ramps in buses and stations for wheelchair-bound citizens, the disabled can learn the arrival time of buses and whether the incoming bus has accessibility from a website designed for the disabled by the municipality and the stop where they will get off from loudspeakers installed in every bus that announces the name of the stop and the next stop. The disabled can also travel for free on public buses in Istanbul.